• Ravensire – The Cycle Never Ends

    Ravensire – The Cycle Never Ends
    Released by: Cruz Del Sur Music
    Released on: February 12thh, 2016.
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    Hailing from Portugal and comprised of a guy named Rick on vocals and bass, someone named Nuno on guitar, a dude named Zé Rockhard also on guitar and a drummer known only a F, Ravensire play power metal in the grand tradition of bands like Manowar and Iron Maiden. The Cycle Never Ends is their third release and it’s made up of eight tracks, each as epic as the next.

    Right from the opening riff of Cromlech Revelations, the first track on the album, you feel like you’re atop a mighty steed, galloping through a forest in search of adventure and possibly a buxom maiden or two. Rick sings about druids and stuff, the guitars are way up in the mix, sometimes playing in unison Iron Maiden style and other times playing off of each other to create some pretty cool contrast. It’s just over seven minutes of pure, unadulterated metal and it is powerful, epic and just a whole lot of fun.

    Crosshaven starts off with a nice instrumental introduction of sorts, drums and guitars and bass rumble into the mix in equal doses and then we hit that stride, that rhythm that pulls you in as the vocals tell a tale of dragons and invincibility and ancient spirits and other awesome stuff probably lifted from a Conan The Barbarian comic. It’s pretty great. Solitary Vagrant is considerably more aggressive, it sounds like Paul Di’anno era Maiden at times, it’s got a bit more attitude than the other tracks on the record, a little more bite maybe. It puts aside the more epic power metal sounds of some of the other numbers and in three and a half minutes’ time it gets right to the point. It, too, is pretty great.

    Procession of the Dead gets back to a more melodic sound, really BIG guitars, wailing vocals, an interesting and atmospheric instrumental break in the middle that then turns into a bizarre spoken word portion that sounds like it’s being delivered in Latin that then gives way to a blistering guitar solo over top of a rhythm section firing on all cylinders. From there? Trapped In Dreams is a speedy, quick slab of power metal played really well, complete with some truly anthemic vocals that ought to have everyone singing along in no time. And if the album ended there, it would be just fine. But it doesn’t.

    See, the last three tracks on the record make up the seventeen minute “White Pillars Trilogy.” The press release for this album notes that the three parts of this selection are inspired by the history of Sintra, a city near Lisbon where archeologists have uncovered ancient manuscripts, the ruins of a Moorish settlement that had a part in fending off Norwegian invaders in the 12th century and altars from an ancient Roman temple. The first part of the trilogy, Eternal Sun, starts off as a slower, more evocative piece complete with crashing cymbals and some super technical guitar work as Rick’s vocals take us on a crazed ride through ancient times. It finishes with a great guitar solo that gives way to one last vocal assault and then segues, pretty much flawlessly, into the second part, that being Blood And Gold. This second part builds nicely off of the first, switching tempos a few times during its five minute running time as it tells of crusaders and plunder and the spoils of victory and the perils of war. The last part of the trilogy and the final song on the album is the seven minute Temple At The End Of The World. It builds off of the first two installments and takes things to the next level: more guitar, bigger drums, heavier bass lines and lyrics that are just as sprawling and huge and adventurous as they should be for a song called Temple At The End Of The World. It ties into the album’s title nicely too and it brings everything to an appropriately massive conclusion. These guys don’t try to hide their influences, but when they do what they do as well as they do, why would they? This is really well played, it’s exciting, it’s epic and it’s a lot of fun.